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Thursday, May 23, 2019

A few Comments on April New Home Sales

by Calculated Risk on 5/23/2019 01:01:00 PM

New home sales for April were reported at 673,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR). Sales for March were revised up to 723,000, a new high for this cycle.   Sales in January and February were also revised up.

My view has been that we'd see further growth in New Home sales.  Last month I wrote: "My guess is we haven't seen the peak of this cycle yet."   Didn't take long!

Earlier: New Home Sales decreased to 673,000 Annual Rate in April, March Revised up to New Cycle High.

New Home Sales 2017 2018Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows new home sales for 2018 and 2019 by month (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).

Sales in April were up 7.0% year-over-year compared to April 2018.

Year-to-date (just through April), sales are up 6.7% compared to the same period in 2018.  This comparison was the most difficult in the first half of 2018, so this is a strong start for 2019.

And here is another update to the "distressing gap" graph that I first started posting a number of years ago to show the emerging gap caused by distressed sales.

Distressing GapThe "distressing gap" graph shows existing home sales (left axis) and new home sales (right axis) through April 2019. This graph starts in 1994, but the relationship had been fairly steady back to the '60s.

Following the housing bubble and bust, the "distressing gap" appeared mostly because of distressed sales.

Even though distressed sales are down significantly, following the bust, new home builders focused on more expensive homes - so the gap has only closed slowly.

I still expect this gap to close.   However, this assumes that the builders will offer some smaller, less expensive homes.

Distressing GapAnother way to look at this is a ratio of existing to new home sales.

This ratio was fairly stable from 1994 through 2006, and then the flood of distressed sales kept the number of existing home sales elevated and depressed new home sales. (Note: This ratio was fairly stable back to the early '70s, but I only have annual data for the earlier years).

In general the ratio has been trending down since the housing bust, and this ratio will probably continue to trend down a little more.

Note: Existing home sales are counted when transactions are closed, and new home sales are counted when contracts are signed. So the timing of sales is different.